Chechen Rebels Ratchet Up Attacks Yet Again

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 26

On June 30, unidentified gunmen fired on servicemen from a unit of Interior Ministry Internal Troops located on the outskirts of the village of Komsomolskoye in Chechnya’s Urus-Martan district, Kavkazky Uzel reported. No one was hurt in the incident. On June 29, unidentified gunmen fired on a police headquarters in the village of Elistanzhi in Chechnya’s Vedeno district, killing Khamad Chataev, deputy commander of the Interior Ministry Internal Troops’ special Yug battalion and seriously wounding another battalion member. A civilian was also killed in the attack. Also on June 29, two policemen and the parents of a rebel who were trying to convince him to surrender were killed when they were ambushed by rebels near the village of Roshni-Chu in Chechnya’s Urus-Martan district, Interfax reported. The news agency identified the slain police officers as Senior Lieutenant Islam Abdulov, head of the criminal investigation section of the Shatoi district internal affairs department (OVD) and Captain Akhdan Arsnukaev, also with the Shatoi district internal affairs department. On June 27, four policemen were killed and four wounded in a shootout with rebels near the village of Dargo in Chechnya’s Vedeno district during which the rebels also shot up and damaged an armored personnel carrier. Two rebels were killed in the gun battle. RIA Novosti reported that the four slain policemen were members of the patrol-sentry service of the Chechen police force’s Kadyrov Regiment No. 2.

On June 30, Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov claimed that the latest increase in rebel activity was the result of fresh financial infusions from Arab “sponsors,” reported. “The bandits, who have sold themselves to mercenaries, are trying to intimidate the civilian population and striving to demonstrate their power. An example of that was the latest sortie by the bandits … in the village of Elistanzhi … In front of a father the bandits shot his son, who before his death told the criminals: ‘You can kill me, but I am not afraid of you’.” Alkhanov said the murder was committed by members of a group headed by someone named Gakaev, who is on the federal wanted list. “Sooner or later, we will find those who murdered our colleagues and civilians,” Alkhanov said. “The bandits probably had the goal of intimidating us, but they have not intimidated us. Let the bandits be afraid of us. Everything that they use as a cover for their criminal plans and actions is a lie, deception and hypocrisy, and all of their statements are groundless. There will be only one conversation with them. They will either sit in the prisoner’s dock or be destroyed” (see Andrei Smirnov’s article below).

Meanwhile, one observer has suggested that the latest upsurge in rebel attacks in Chechnya has been made possible not by money from abroad, but by funding from Ramzan Kadyrov’s enemies in the federal government.

“There has not been any Arab money in Chechnya for a long time, and that relatively small amount of money that the terrorists have has its origins in Moscow,” said political analyst Ruslan Saidov in comments posted by the website on July 1. “The leaders of the terrorists led by [Dokka] Umarov are all, without exception, agents of the [Russian] special services who have received instructions from the Lubyanka from the enemies of Ramzan Kadyrov. Now the enemies of the Chechen Republic in Moscow and Rostov are trying to take revenge for the destruction of the Yamadaev brothers’ group. The stirring up of the militants is a result of this. Ruslan Alkhanov, being an experienced person, understands all of this very well, but given the position he holds, he of course cannot speak publicly about the true reasons for the armed [rebel] sorties.”